The founder and Executive Chairman of Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspapers, SuccessDigest and other online publications, Dr. Emmanuel Sunny Ojeagbase, is dead.
He died on Saturday, February 26, 2022 in Atlanta, United States of America (USA), after a brief illness.
He was 71 years old.
Ojeagbase, who hailed from Uzebba, Iuleha in Owan West of Edo State, was popularly known as Sunny Ojeagbase (or simply “S.O.”) before he added Emmanuel to his name.
The media entrepreneur broke into national consciousness as the pioneer publisher of sports news in Nigeria when he established Sports Souvenir weekly newspaper in 1984.
He was a retired soldier of the Nigerian Army who cut his teeth in sports journalism as a stringer at the Daily Times in the mid-1970s.
Through sheer talent, determination and hard work, Ojeagbase blossomed very quickly and was appointed sports editor of the Sunday Concord at inception in 1980 and sports editor of The Guardian also at inception in 1983. He subsequently resigned from The Guardian in 1984 to pursue his dream as an entrepreneur.
Between 1984 and 1994, Ojeagbase introduced several other pioneering sports titles, including Complete Football magazine, Complete Football International (CFI) and International Soccer Review (ISR) into the Nigerian sports market.
Remarkably, the Complete Football titles played very prominent roles in ensuring Nigeria’s first appearance at the FIFA World Cup at USA 1994 as well as the country’s football gold medal win at the Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games in the USA.
Between those two historic events in Nigerians sports, Ojeagbase introduced Complete Sports as the number one daily sports newspaper in Nigeria in 1995.
Also in 1994, Ojeagbase co-founded, with his wife, Pastor (Mrs) Esther Ojeagbase, the Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC) with a vision and mission to teach young Nigerian entrepreneurs how to start, run and make a success of their businesses.
SADC has gone on to produce and inspire thousands of successful entrepreneurs who are protégés of the Ojeagbases and many of whom are now employers of labour.
Ojeagbase was ordained as a pastor in March 2003 and he preached the message of God in words and in deeds to everyone who encountered him. His mantra was to do business and live life with the fear of God, integrity, compassion and peace of mind.
He was a totally self-made man who was passionate about acquiring knowledge as attested to by a huge library filled with books on business management, leadership, entrepreneurship and related fields.
He had a Diploma in Journalism from the University of Lagos, but he was conferred with a honorary doctorate degree by a different institution for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur.
He also received tons of awards and recognitions for his contributions to sports journalism, publishing, business mentorship and entrepreneurship.
Ojeagbase was a rallying point for members of his immediate and extended families and also a benefactor to thousands of people.
He created and facilitated breakthrough opportunities and jobs for young journalists and contemporaries alike.
His generosity and philanthropy was limitless. He was completely detribalized and, despite being a pastor, was extremely tolerant and unbiased to people of other faiths.
He was a good man at heart and a great man in achievements.
Ojeagbase is survived by his wife, Pastor (Mrs) Esther Ojeagbase, his children both biological and adopted, as well as grandchildren and other relatives.
He will also be sorely missed by friends, mentees and business associates.
Condolence registers have been opened at Complete Sports headquarters at Plot 9, Alhaji Adenekan Street, Okota, Lagos, and at SADC headquarters, No. 36, Esuola Street, Off Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos.
Burial arrangements will be announced by the family.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the family, friends and associates of Sunny Ojeagbase.
This was made known in a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
Adesina said, ”President Muhammadu Buhari sends condolences to family, friends and professional associates of founder and Executive Chairman of Complete Communications Ltd, Dr Emmanuel Sunny Ojeagbase, whose vision and diligence transformed sports reporting and inspired a generation of media entrepreneurs.
“President Buhari commiserates with his wife and long-time business partner, Pastor (Mrs) Esther Ojeagbase, who worked with her husband in publishing, ministry and charity, bringing out many titles which include Complete Football magazine, Complete Football International (CFI), International Soccer Review (ISR) and Success Digest.
“The president affirms that Ojeagbase, who worked for the Daily Times, Concord newspapers and The Guardian, before pioneering sports news publication in Nigeria, 1984, was also a teacher and preacher of the Word of God, and he lived by the tenets of the Holy Bible, greatly motivating others to grow spiritually and apply the principles of honesty, fairness and integrity in business.
“President Buhari prays that Almighty God will remember the good works of the media entrepreneur and philanthropist and grant his soul eternal rest.”
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